In September 2007 Sephis started a research programme on the history of sexualities in the South, with funding of the Ford Foundation. The objective of this program is to allow researchers in the South to gain a deeper historical and comparative understanding of the complex interplay between cultural contexts and the politics of sex- and gender-based claims of identity along with dissemination of findings to advocacy groups and into the public sphere. The five main activities of the program are: the organization of an expert meeting, the selection of grantees, the organization of a training workshop for the selected grantees, the monitoring of the research projects, the organization of an international policy dialogue and the publication of an edited volume based on the individual research projects.
In the first year of the program (2007-2008) Sephis organized the expert meeting, selected and accepted ten researchers at the Post-Doctoral, PhD and MA level to research a topic related to the history of sexualities in the South, and organized a research methodology workshop for the selected researchers. These long term grantees receive financial support of US$ 15, 000 for 18 months (up to December 2009). In February 2009, following a call for applications four short term grantees were selected through an intensive competition. They will receive funding support of US$ 10,000 for a period of 10 months starting in February 2009 (and up to December 2009).
In the second year of the program (2008-2009) Sephis selected four short-term grantees, organized a research methodology workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh for the new grantees, and a peer review workshop in Cairo, Egypt for the long term grantees. Sephis assigned a number of scholars as advisors for the individual grantees to guarantee the academic quality of the research papers.
In the third year of the program (2009-2010) the research papers were finalized. The research results were disseminated via seminars and workshops in the countries of research. In August 2010 an international policy dialogue took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Young researchers and activists discussed the relevance of academic research for advocacy for sexual rights. The policy dialogue was organized in cooperation with the Kartini Asia Network for Women/Gender Studies.
In 2011 the research papers were edited by Saskia Wieringa and Horacio Sivori. The edited volume will be published by Zed Books in 2013.